Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 6.0, 31 October 2014), September 1716, trial of Robert Read (t17160906-1).

Robert Read, Killing > murder, 6th September 1716.

Robert Read , of the Parish of St. Brides , was indicted upon an Inquisition taken before the Coroner, for the Murder of Daniel Vaughan , with a Blunderbuss, value 5 s. charged with Gunpowder and Bullets , on the 24th of July last. The Indictment preferred to the Grand Jury for the Murder of the said Daniel Vaughan was returned Ignoramus

John Bill depos'd, That the Night before (viz. the 23d of July last) after he had shut up Shop, he went out for his Supper, and at his Return found several Watchmen at the Mug-house Door, which occasioned a great Mob, and he saw them throw Stones at the Windows, upon which two Gentlemen came out with their Swords drawn. Next Morning he saw the Windows broke very much, so that there was scarce 4 Panes whole; but saw none of the Watch endeavour to prevent the Mischief. After this he saw the Prisoner and a Grenadier go from the Mug-house Door to the End of Salisbury-Court, but were drove back by the Mob. Then he heard the Proclamation read, upon which the People advanced with great Shouts for the space of 3 Minutes, and then the Prisoner fired, the Mob being within 20 Yards of the Prisoner's House, the Deceas'd about 10 Yards before them, and the Prisoner 5 from his House. That he could not remember any particular or general Cry used among the Mob, but believed the Deceased did not belong to them, and that he had no Stick in his Hand; however he had heard he was a Mobber.

Charles Tuckey depos'd, That on the Day mentioned in the Indictment, he was in a Balcony over against the Mug-house, and about 1 a-Clock saw the Prisoner come out with a Blunderbuss in his Hand, and saw the Mob advancing from Fleet-street to the Mug-house Door hollowing, as the People did in the Mug-house; and being ask'd what their Cry was in the Mug-house, he answered, King George for ever. That some of the Mob had Sticks; That then the Prisoner push'd on 4 or 5 Yards from his own Door, and fired, and the Deceas'd fell, much about the same Distance before the Mob. He saw no Stick in his Hand. That 2 or 3 Soldiers came out at the same time, and one of them fin'd; but he believed the Prisoner did the Execution.

And Bill stood up again, and said, he thought the Blunderbuss did the Mischief.

Katharine Bennet depos'd, That she saw the Prisoner level his Piece at the Deceas'd. That she kept Shop over against the Mug-house, and heard a great Noise in it the Monday Night before, insomuch that she sate up all Night; and she heard some of the Gentlemen there say, Come, let's go to the Swan; which they did, and she heard them beat against the Windows; and when they returned, she heard a Voice say, Come Gentlemen of the Roe-buck, let us drink the King's Health. That about 1 a-Clock they went to the Swan again, and as they went she heard them say, Down with the Butchers, Down with the Barbers (whose Door was beat open) Down with the Pawnbrokers; and that they beat against her Door, but could not break it open. She saw no Watch nor Constable then. The next Morning about 10 a Clock, she saw the Mug-house Windows broke; there was no Stones thrown at them, till a Gentleman came out of the House, and several more with Sticks. That she saw a Mob in Fleet-street, but upon her Oath did not see them advance up the Court, but stood stock still, till after she saw the Prisoner kill the Deceas'd. That the Prisoner was 3 or 4 Yards from his House when he fin'd , and then she looked and saw the Deceas'd fall. That the Prisoner levelled his Piece once before, but it would not go off. And that she saw no Stick in the Prisoner's Hand when he dropt.

Sarah Dawson depos'd, That being a Servant at a Neighbour's House to the Prisoner, she was sent about eleven a Clock of an Errand, but the Crowd being very great she turn'd down a Passage into a fort of an Ally by St. Brides Church-yard Wall, and coming back again the same way, the Deceased stood at the End of the Passage; and she push'd him to get through, and the Piece went off at that time and the Deceased fell against her and frighted her. That there had been a great Disturbance all Night, that the Mug-house Windows were broke before this happen'd; and that she has been ever since under an uneasie Conscience, as fearing her self to have been in some measure the Cause of his Death.

Joseph Harris depos'd, That he was at work that Morning in Fetter-lane, where he heard there was a great Disturbance in Fleet street, upon which he went there to see what was the Matter, and saw the Deceased, whom he knew, and a great Crowd of People, and ask'd him what was the Matter; and the Deceased said, he did not know, that he would not be concern'd, but would go to work, and that he had some Bread and Cheese in his Pocket. That he saw the Mug-house Windows broke; but staid a very little while, and about a quarter of an Hour after he heard the Deceas'd was kill'd.

John Holmes swore, He was going through the Court about 10 a Clock, and staid till half an Hour past eleven, in which time he observ'd a great Crowd of Women and Children about the Mug-house Door, and a Constable and some Men come out of it, and read a Proclamation with three Huzzus ; and then saw the Prisoner bring out a Blunderbuss, which he discharg'd and the Deceased fell, who was about four Yards from him, as he was from his House. This Evidence being ask'd some Questions concerning a Mob, their Cry, and whether they had Sticks at that time; answer'd, Not as he saw, he heard nothing on it, he did not took towards Fleet-street.

Thomas Moultfier depos'd, That between ten and eleven a Clock on Monday Night he was going to Bed at a House overagainst the Prisoner's, and saw no Stones thrown then; but saw some Gentlemen in the Court, who went to the Swan, and beat against the Windows; after which some of them said, Come, Gentlemen of the Roc-buck, walk in. Next Morning about six a Clock he saw a Crowd about the Swan, whole Windows were broke, as some were at the Mug-house, but did not know who broke them. That he saw a little Gentleman read a Proclamation, and a great Number of People were then at the end of the Court, many of them with Sticks; and he saw them advance three or four Yards in the Court; but some Persons came out of the Mug house and drove them back into Fleet-street, but at last were forc'd to retire themselves; and he believes it was half an Hour after the reading of the Proclamation before the Prisoner fired, when the Mob was about twenty Yards in the Court; and he heard them cry, Down with the Mug-house. The Deceased was between the Prisoner and the Mob, and the Prisoner about a Yard and half from his House. He could not tell whether the Deceased came out of the Passage or no, tho' he saw him before he was shot, nor whether he had a Stick.

William Stratton depos'd, he was going to Work about 11 a Clock, and saw a great Mob in Salisbury-Court, and going in the saw the Deceas'd in the Swan, who call'd him to drink with him, and then told him there was a great Mob; but he was going to Work, and had some Bread and Cheese in his Pocket. By and by the Mob increased, and he heard the People at the Mug-house cry King George for ever, and the Mob High-Church and the King. But the Deceas'd said he would not meddle. That he heard the Proclamation read; That the Mug-house People drove down the Mob, but being forced back again, he and the Deceas'd went out, and they parted at the Corner of the Passage, where he left the Prisoner.

This was all the Evidence that appeared against the Prisoner to support the Indictment upon the Coroner's Inquest on the Behalf of the King. Then the Prisoner called his Witnesses, who being sworn, deposed as follows.

Mr. John Boyles depos'd, That he was at the Mug-house the Night before, between 6 and 7 a Clock; and about 9 a Constable and several Watchmen drew up in a Rank against the Door, which occasioned a great Mob; and as Gentlemen came to the Mug-house, they hiss'd them; upon which he went to the Door to know why they hiss'd, but they threw Stones at him, and at the Windows, which had been broke once before to the Value of 7 s. 6 d. That afterwards being in the Coffee-Room, a Stone hit him on the Leg, and then he went to the Constable, one overs, and asked him, if he was not ashamed to suffer such Things, having Authority and Watchmen enough to prevent it, by securing such Persons as threw the Stones; who answered him, I was the People in the Mug-house that did it, and broke their own Windows; that his Hour was not come, viz. 10 a Clock. After this Mrs. Read sent a Quart of Ale to the Watchmen to drink the King's Health, but another Constable who was there then refus'd it, and forbid his Watchmen to drink it. Then one Mr. Hucks offered them a Crown, saying, Come, these look like honest Watchmen, there's a Crown for them to Drink; which they took, but the Constable made them return that also. Then a Constable who was in the House read the Proclamation, upon which the other with his Watch came in, and demanded the Reason of that Rout, and was answered by the other Constable, There was no Rout but what was made by your Mob, and therefore they had just read the Proclamation to disperse them; to which he replied, he was no Constable in that Ward, and therefore was not to direct him, and went away. A little while after some Mischief happened at the Swan Ale-house, and Mrs. Read beg'd the Favour of some Gentlemen to stay in her House all Night, as he and some others did; and about 6 a Clock the next Morning the Mob began togather, and continued till 9, throwing Stones at the Windows, and seemed inclined to do more Mischief; upon which the Deponent ventured out to them to reason with them, and to desire them to be easy and quiet, and not ruin a Man who had done them no harm; in which Time he received two Knocks by Stones, one of which broke his Head and made him bleed very much, whereupon he ran into the House for a Stick, and drove them, but struck no body but the Person who hit him with the Stone. After this, being informed that an armed Mob was preparing to pull down the Mug-house, they sent two Expresses, one to the Lord Mayor, the other to the Lord Townsend; and it was not long before a great Mob armed, with Sticks and Clubs, appeared in Fleetstrees making up the Court; whereupon they consulted what had best to be done for the Security of the House; and it was his Advice to attack them before they joined the Mob in the Court, and became too formidable; and so they did, having a Blunderbuss which was brought to them about half and Hour before in a Coach: He and the Prisoner went out, and after they were repulsed, the Prisoner bid the Mob have a Care, stand off, near a quarter of an Hour before he fir'd, which was done about a Yard and a half from his House, and then he went in to make a Barricade.

Thomas Arrowsmith (the Grenadier) depos'd, That he was at the Mug-house all Night; and from 8 a-Clock, as Gentlemen came into it, they were assaulted by the Mob at the Door, who threw Stones at them. That a Constable was there with his Watch, but did not discharge the Duty of his Office, but encouraged the Mob by Connivance. Next Morning about 8 a-Clock, the Mob (Men Women, and Children) began to show their Colours, by crying out, High Church and Ormond for ever, and Down with the Mug-house. At last, about 11 a-Clock, their Number was very great, and he having his Arms, drove them from the Door 2 or 3 times into Fleet-street. Then the Proclamation was read, which served but to encrease their Rage and Number, who threw Stones so thick, that the Gentlemen were obliged to go into the House; and then he with the Prisoner, who was also armed, went out and presented their Pieces, bidding them he gone, true a Care, stand off, &c.6 Minutes, during which Time they were pelted with Stones, so that they could take no Aim; the Mob still advancing upon them, and hollowing out Down with the Mug-house, and then they both fired; after which he posted himself for the Defence of the House, but in a little time some of them broke into it behind, and pushed him into the Court; and then he was so beat with Sticks and Clubs, and dragg'd along the Channel, that had it not been for the Guards and the Care of Mr. Tobias Cheesbrook , he had certainly been murdered; and others at the same time were pulling the House to Pieces. That before this he saw no Harm offered to any body by the Gentlemen of the Mug-house.

Mr. John Collins depos'd, That he was at the Mug-house all Night for its Defence; and the Society was informed, that a Gentleman was carried to the Swin, for crying out King George for ever; upon which some of them went in a civil Manner to speak with the Constable, and know what he had secured him for, and knocked at the Swan Door, but they would not open the Door; but some Persons up Stairs, opened the Windows and untiled the Penthouse, and threw the files upon the Gentlemen, which broke some of their Heads; and thereupon they broke some of the Windows with the Tiles that had been thrown at them, but that no Windows were broke at the Swin, till after the Tiles were thrown from the Penthouse.

Thomas Arrowsmith , the Grenadier, being then called again, deposed, that he was with them at the Swan, and received a Cut over the Nose by a piece of a Tile from the swan, tho' no body had given them the least Provocation; upon which some Gentlemen returned there Tiles, and broke their Windows.

Then Mr. Collins returned to his Evidence, and swore, That next Morning the Mob broke their Windows; and one of their Company went out, and took a Fellow whom the Mob called Vinegar, and brought him into the Mug-house, and about an Hour after he fell on his Knees, begged Pardon, and drank King George's Health, and then they let him go. After which the Mob much encreased, and he heard them cry out, High Church and Ormond, No King George, No Hannoverians, Down with the Mug-house. But some Gentlemen went out, and drove them quite down to the Street; but being repulsed, Mr. Read and the Grenadier went out again, and bid them stand off, keep back, &c. That the Deceased was at their Head, with a great Stick in his Hand, brandishing it and bauling out, Fall on, brave Boys, for the Duke of Ormond is landed with 20000 Men. And he verily believed he was the same Person they had released in the Morning, but was not sure; a little after which the Prisoner fired. Then the Mob fell upon them, and some Gentlemen got away, but he and some others went up Stairs, and made a Barricade upon the Stairs; after which they heard great clattering and breaking of the Goods below, which were thrown out, for their more speedy Destruction, to the Mob in the Court.

Richard Newell depos'd, That he was sent of an Errand into the Court between ten and eleven a Clock on Tuesday Morning; he had heard of a great Disturbance there the Night before, and was willing therefore to see what would be the Consequence. Whilst he was observing things, he saw a great Mob come up the Court, and a Constable come out of the Mug-house and read a Proclamation; and then the Gentlemen huzza'd for King George, and he made a Huzza himself; and the Mob huzza'd, after which they advanc'd to the House, and the Prisoner and some Gentlemen came out and sought the Mob, but were beat at last and forc'd to return; and then the Mob cried out, High Church and Ormond, No King George, No Hannoverians, Down with the Mug-house, louder than ever, with Sticks in their Hands. And being ask'd whether many of them said so, he answer'd, It was universal. Then he saw the Prisoner come to the Door, and lean there; and the Deceas'd with a Stick held up with his two Hands like a Quarter-staff , and he was making up to the Prisoner when he fell. That he saw some of the Mob-fling Sticks and Bricks at the House, whilst others advanc'd with Sticks in their Hands.

James Harbottle depos'd, That as he was talking with a Friend that Tuesday Morning about eleven a Clock near the Rose-Inn at Holbourn bridge, about a dozen Men past by him with Sticks, hollowing; and he followed them, and ask'd what was the meaning of it; and they said, they were going to attack the Mug-house; upon which he trac'd them, and at one Mr. Nicholls's a Soap-boiler by Fleet-ditch, about half a dozen Sticks were deliver'd to them; from thence they went down Shoe-lane, and at a Braziers near Adams's the Cook, they had more Sticks given them, and then they said, Come Boys, here's Sticks enough now. That he went to give the People of the House an Account of it; and the Mob having arm'd themselves with Clubs to their Satisfaction, and thrown away their small Sticks, they went directly to Salisbury-court; and after the Proclamation was read they press'd forward, but were beat back by the Grenadier; but growing stronger they return'd to the Charge with a very great Shout. Then he went up to the Mug House and hear'd the Prisoner say, Stand off, Have a Care, &c. and in a little time the Piece fired, the Mob at the same time throwing Sticks and Stones at the Prisoner and his House.

Dr. John De la Caste deposed, that he went with three Gentlemen through the Mob into the Mug-house that Tuesday about eleven a Clock in the Forenoon, and they followed him almost to the Door. When he saw Mr. Read the Prisoner, he asked him what Provision was in the House for a Defence; and finding none, he wrote a Letter to the Lord Townsend, to inform his Lordship of their Danger, and blamed the Prisoner for not doing so before; and by and by he heard a small Gun go off, which he thought was a Warning-gun for the Mob to fall on; for immediately after they did so with great Fury; and he, being above Stairs with some other Gentlemen, they got out at a Window behind the House; and the Sexton of the Church had the Cruelty to turn a Mastiss loose upon them; but they drew their Swords and told him, they were on the Defence of their Lives, and if he did not call him off, they might be under a necessity of killing the Dog and him too; upon which he called him off: and about a quarter or half an Hour after, he heard the Gun go off which he believ'd kill'd the Man.

Michael Burrel deposed, That he was going home about 10 a Clock on the Monday-Night before this Action happened, and heard a Noise in Salisbury-Court, where he had been informed their was a Mug-house, but he had never been in; and saw a Constable and some Watchmen there, who he thought incouraged and encreas'd the Mob. by taking no Care to keep the Peace, or to prevent the ling Stones to the Windows, tho' the Persons who threw there just by them, and all the Action done in their fight, and Stones were brought in Baskets and laid down by them. Being asked what Constable this was, he said some told him his Name was Johnson. That after the House had been battered some Time, the Gentlemen came down, and desired him as well as he could understand them (being at some distance) to do his Duty: but he went away, and left the Mob there. Next Day about Noon coming from his Chambers in the Temple, he saw a great Mob in the Court breaking the Goods of the Mug-house, and throwing them out at the Windows; and as they were gutting and pulling Things down, he heard some of the Mob say, just thus will we pull King George from the Crown, which is none of his own.

Then Dr. De ls Coste said he had something more that was material to offer, and standing up, depos'd, That he heard too some of the Mob say, the Duke of Ormond, and some the Duke of Berwick, was landed with 20000 Men. That the Friday-Night before he was Chairman at the same Mug-house; and he received Information, that the Mob threatned to pull it down that Night; and fearing he should want Assistance, he sent a Messenger to the Loyal Society in Tavistock-street , desiring their Company and Assistance if Need should be, on that Occasion, who came very readily and disperst the Mob, so that no Mischief was done that Night; but a few of them went by with a Harp and Fiddle, playing The King shall enjoy his own again. Then the Court told him, that since he said he had been Chairman of that Mug-house; he would do well now he was upon his Oath to give an Account of their Orders and Behaviour. Upon which he told him, That about 8 a Clock at Night the President generally enters the Chair, and after profound Silence is made, they always begin a hearty Mug to the Health and Prosperity of His Most Sacred Majesty King GEORGE; some time after that another to their Royal Highnesses the Prince and Princess of Wales and their Issue, and all the Royal Family; a third to the Glorious and Immortal Memory of the late King William, and seldom or never miss a fourth to the Prosperity of the Church of England, sometimes with a supplement, as wishing she may never want Power nor Inclination to protect and encourage all Protectants, and sometimes without; for the rest, if any are inclined to stay longer, they fill up the Time with other Loyal Healths of lesser Note, as the Chairman or President shall think proper; but never to the Confusion or Damnation of any Person or Thing, as the Enemies to the Government and theirs have falsly given out.

Mr. Carleton Smith depos'd, That on the Tuesday aforesaid, my Lord Mayor sent him to the Mug-house in Salisbury-Court to see what was the Matter there; and he found the court full of Mob, which made him go thro' the Passage by St. Brides Wall to Mr. Read's House, and he turning himself about saw two Parties engaging, and the Grenadier making a Longe at the Mob with his Bayonet fixed; but at last they broke thro' his Force, and made him and the Prisoner retire, bearing down upon them with a great Torrent, the Deceas'd at their Head; and at the very Instant that he was endeavouring to save himself thro' the Passage, he heard a Piece go off, as the Deceas'd (to his thinking) was advancing to the Grenadier to close in with him. He did not observe the Prisoner particularly; but the Deceas'd fell down just by him, starting and heaving one of his Legs, and died, after which he helped to convey him into St. Brides Passage, and immediately he heard a violent Noise of Boards breaking and crashing, which made him think it high Time to give an Account of it to my Lord Mayor.

Mr. Paul Burdeau deposed, That he was in Salisbury-Court that Tuesday Morning, and saw a violent Mob affaulting the Mug-house; and going into the Coach and Horses, an Alehouse over against Mr. Read's, he saw 3 or 4 Constables; at which he was surprized, there being so much need of their Assistance elsewhere; and therefore told them he was asham'd to see so many Constables in that House, when just by there was so great a Call for them to Duty; and then they went out; but he did not see them afterwards in the Court. About ten a Clock, as he walkt about in Fleet-street to observe what passed, he heard a Fellow say, Damn that Granadier, if it was not for him we would have a little Fun; and the Deceased replied, Damn his Blood, I will have him down by and by; upon which he asked some who knew him, who that Person was; and they told him his Name was Daniel, the Captain of the Mob. After this he heard a Man was killed, and he went to St. Brides Wall, where he lay, and knew the Deceased to be the same Person.

Mr. Luke Whitson deposed, That he was at Salisbury-Court about 12 a Clock, and heard a Consultation among the Mob to pull down the Mug-house, upon which he went to Mr. Read's and told him of it, and then the Proclamation was read; which served but to increase the Mob, who made great Shouts. He saw the Deceased knock down a Soldier, after which the Mob pressed forwards with the Deceased at their Head with a Club in his Hand, and thereupon he bid the Prisoner fire, saying, You have Law, you have Justice, you have Reason on your side, why don't you fire; and presently the Deceased sell, and dropt his Stick. He heard him cry, High Church and Ormond, and Down with the Mug house.

Mr. Richard Bennet deposed, That he had been at the Mug-house the Monday Night before this Action, till past eleven a Clock, when the Mob was numerous, and the Stones thrown in great Plenty; that one of the Company going out, was wounded with a Stone, and came back to be dre . Next Morning he was told by one of his Boys, that a great Mob was in Salisbury-Court, upon which he went to them, and heard them say they would pull down the Mug-house; and getting up to it, he saw a Fellow bring out three Bottles in his Hand, kneel down by the Swan Door near the Channel, and drink the Pretender's Health by the Name of James the Third, and hollowed, and the People in the Swan hollowed too. He also saw the Engagement between the Mob and the Grenadier, who was knockt down, and his Boy took some care of him, and helped him up.

Mr. Edward Harding deposed, He saw the Deceased throw a Stone at two Soldiers, as big as his two Fists, about an Hour or two before, as they were going up to the Mug-house: He knew him very well, and some of the Mob called him Vinegar, some Little Daniel. After he was killed, he saw the Mob destroy all the Goods they could come at in the Mug-house; and by and by a Fellow came out with three Bottles and drank the Pretender's Health; between twelve and one. But Mr. Bennet standing up again, deposed, that he thought it was before the Deceased was killed.

And lastly, Mr. Badcock was sworn, who deposed, That having been informed on Monday Night by a Friend, that there was a Design to pull down the Mug-house; he being a Constable, and being desired to keep the Peace, went to the House and found a great Mob at the Door throwing Stones; and being asked whether there was any Riot or Disorder in the House, he said there was not. That a Constable (whose Name he did not know) and some Watchmen being before the Door, he desired the Constable and his Watch to keep the Peace; who replied, they in the House occasioned the Breach of it themselves; which was false, they having done nothing that could give a just Offence. That going up Stairs he heard a great Clatter against the Windows, and saw another Constable, one Johnston, whom he desired likewise to keep the Peace and disperse the Mob, promising to assist him, there being about 20 Watchmen with them; but he replied as the other, that the Mug-house People threw the Stones themselves, tho' he knew himself that that was impossible, (the Window-Shutters being shut; so that they could not fling any out. ) and that he had nothing to do there, not being a Constable of that Ward; the Mob throwing Stones all the while in their very sight. He also heard this Constable say the House deserved to be pull'd down; and then one of the Watchmen took hold of him, and would have pulled him out of the House; after which they came in, and made a Bustle and Disturbance in the House, so that he was obliged to read the Proclamation, the Mob throwing Stones at him all the while. The next Morning he went to see what Mischief was done, about 8 a Clock, and found the Windows broke, and a Gentleman wounded; That one of the Mob threw a Stone at him, and as he was about securing him, the Mob knocked him down and resoned their Brother.

The Prisoner had several Witnesses of Substance and Worth to speak to his Character and Reputation, but the Court thinking it needless, they were not examined.

The Recorder having summ'd up the whole Evidence, the Jury considered of it, and acquitted the Prisoner.